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Aztec Overview


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Adapted from another slideshare account. I have added a few activities and videos to accompany the presentation.

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Aztec Overview

  1. 1. ANCIENT AZTECS Adapted From: aztecs?qid=b29221fd-ec05-4e7e-bcb4- b3b230c78953&v=default&b=&from_search=1
  2. 2. ROOTS OF AZTEC CULTURE  Long before Mayan cities rose in the south, the city of Teotihuacan emerged in the Valley of Mexico  The Valley of Mexico is a huge oval basin ringed by snowcapped volcanoes, located in the high plateau of central Mexico
  4. 4. TEOTIHUACAN  The city of Teotihuacan was well planned, with wide roads, massive temples, and large apartment buildings  The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon rose majestically towards the sky along the main avenue  Citizens of Teotihuacan worshipped a powerful nature goddess and rain god  Eventually Teotihuacan fell to invaders but its culture influenced later peoples, especially the Aztecs
  6. 6. ARRIVAL OF THE AZTECS  In the late 1200s, bands of nomadic peoples, the ancestors of the Aztecs, migrated into the Valley of Mexico from the north  According to Aztec legend, the gods had told them to search for an eagle perched atop a cactus holding a snake in its beak  The people found this sign on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco  Once they settled, the Aztecs shifted from hunting to farming  They slowly built the city of Tenochtitlan on the site of present-day Mexico City
  9. 9. ARRIVAL OF THE AZTECS  As their population grew, the Aztecs found ingenious ways to create more farmland  They built chinampas, artificial islands made of earth piled on reed mats that were anchored to the shallow lake bed  On these “floating gardens”, they raised corn, beans, and squash  They gradually filled in parts of the lake and created canals for transportation  Three wide stone causeways linked Tenochtitlan to the mainland
  10. 10. CHINAMPAS
  13. 13. CONQUERING AN EMPIRE  In the 1400s, the Aztecs greatly expanded their territory  Through a combination of fierce conquests and shrewd alliances, they spread their rule across most of Mexico, from the Gulf of Mexico on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west  By 1500, the Aztec empire numbered an estimated 30 million people  War brought immense wealth as well as power  Tribute, or payment from conquered peoples, helped the Aztecs turn their capital into a magnificent city
  14. 14. AZTEC EMPIRE
  15. 15. THE WORLD OF THE AZTECS  When the Spanish and Hernan Cortes reached Tenochtitlan in 1519, they were awestruck at its magnificence  From its temples and royal palaces to its zoos and floating gardens, Tenochtitlan was a city of wonders
  16. 16. WORLD OF THE AZTECS---GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY  Unlike the Mayan city-states, each of which had its own king, the Aztecs had a single ruler  Aztec Social Pyramid:  Emperor  Nobles, Priests  Warriors  Commoners  Slaves  Long-distance traders ferried goods across the empire and beyond  From the highlands, they took goods such as weapons, tools, and rope to barter for tropical products such as jaguar skins and cocoa beans  They also served as spies, finding new areas for trade and conquest
  17. 17. WORLD OF THE AZTECS---RELIGIOUS BELIEFS  Priests were very important to the Aztecs  They performed rituals needed to appease the many Aztec gods  The chief god was Huitzilopochtli, the sun god  The Aztecs believed that Huitzilopochtli battled the forces of darkness each night and was reborn again each morning  To give the sun the strength to rise each day, the Aztecs offered human sacrifices
  19. 19. WORLD OF THE AZTECS---RELIGIOUS BELIEFS  Priests offered the hearts of tens of thousands of victims to Huitzilopochtili and other Aztec gods  Most of the victims were prisoners of war, but sometimes a noble family gave up one of its own members to appease the gods  Other cultures such as the Olmecs and Mayas had practiced human sacrifice, but not on the massive scale of the Aztecs
  21. 21. TEMPLE OF BLOOD  Watch Discovery Channel’s ‘Aztec: Temple of Blood  Learn about:  Aztec’s sacrifice rituals  Temples  Fighting techniques  How they fell
  22. 22. WORLD OF THE AZTECS---EDUCATION AND LEARNING  Priests were the keepers of Aztec knowledge  Besides performing rituals, they also recorded laws and events, and they also ran schools  Others used their skills in astronomy and mathematics to produce a calendar  The Aztecs believed that illnesses were punishments from the gods  Aztec physicians could set broken bones, treat dental cavities, and also prescribed steam baths as cures for ills
  23. 23. HORRIBLE HISTORIES  Aztec tidbits: 
  24. 24. AZTEC ENTERTAINMENT  Aztecs also had a similar ball game to the Mayans  They enjoyed games and gambling  Patolli: type of board game, which was played by the common people as well as the nobles  The name comes from the word for small red beans, which were used to play the game.  Sacrifices were made to the "dice" in hopes that the gods would bring victory  Totoloque: another gambling game popular in Mexico at the time  The object of the game was to hit a target with gold pellets  Bernal Diaz, the Spanish historian, wrote that Cortés and Moctezuma II played totoloque together
  25. 25. LET’S PLAY SOME PATOLLI!  Grab a game sheet and put it together  Grab some beans and make them dice  Get some game pieces and read over the rules
  26. 26. DOWNFALL OF THE AZTECS  Hernan Cortes was the Spanish conquistador who took over the Aztec empire  The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, tried to appease the Spanish by offering gold but by then Spaniards could never be given enough to satisfy their liking  After finally defeating the Aztecs, Cortes destroyed Tenochtitlan and rebuilt the city as Mexico City, the present-day capital of Mexico
  30. 30. MONTEZUMA
  31. 31. CORTES AND THE AZTECS  Fact of Fiction? What were Cortes’ real motives when going to the Americas? 
  32. 32. MEXICO CITY
  34. 34. THE COLUMBIAN EXCHANGE  We’ve looked at how various cultures were destroyed by the Spanish but how did the finding of the New World impact the Americas and Eurasia?  Watch John Green’s take:  M4&index=24&list=PLBDA2E52FB1EF80C9  Do you think Columbus’ founding of the New World has made the world less or more?
  35. 35. OTHER SOURCES:  games.html